Identifying your pet with a simple name tag can drastically improve the chances that your missing pet is returned to you. Each year, thousands of lost animals are dropped off at area shelters with little or no identification. Nearly all of these animals will never see their owners again because the shelter has no contact information to link a pet to his owner. These unnecessary separations can easily be avoided by placing a pet ID tag on your animal, complete with useful contact information in the event that your pet ever gets lost.
Although a name tag alone is not usually enough to identify an animal, it at least provides a good start. Animal shelters often have several animals, many of which are the same breeds. If an animal shelter has 20 golden retrievers, being able to tell the animal shelter that your golden retriever is wearing a name tag that says "Fido" on it is extremely useful. Unfortunately, this only works if you are able to locate the facility where someone took your pet. A name alone gives the animal shelter no contact information for reaching out to you. Also, if someone finds your pet, being able to call him by name may be helpful to keep him calm on the way to the shelter or while waiting for you to pick him up.
In addition to your pet's name, always keep an accurate home address on your pet's ID tag. When changing addresses after a move, it is critical that you update your pet's ID tag immediately, as changing locations is when many pets get lost, especially wandering animals such as a cats and dogs. Include your street name, city and zip code on the tag. If no other means of contact are successful, an animal shelter or animal rescuer can send a notice to your address, notifying you that your animal has been found and how to contact them. The address also helps the finder of your pet understand how far your animal has traveled and whether he might need medical attention.
Including an up-to-date phone number on your pet's ID tag is the most important piece of information -- and one that is often left out. When your pet is found, a phone number allows the finder to immediately notify you. This can prevent you from searching endlessly for your animal, but more important it greatly increases the likelihood that you will be reunited with your pet. If you have multiple phone numbers, be sure to use a number that has voice mail or an answering machine that is frequently checked for messages.
Aside from owner contact information, some pet ID tags include information about rabies shots, vaccines or other important medical records that a person might be interested in when finding your pet. If your pet has any medical problems, these are important to list on the ID tag so that an animal shelter or veterinarian can avoid any procedures that might cause your animal harm in his condition. Keep in mind that pet ID tags are about communicating important information. Although decorations and designs might look pretty, they might also take up valuable space that could be used for contact information to save your animal's life. Keep your pet's ID tag simple, up to date and easy to read. It might not only help you find your pet, but also save his life.